Indian journalist charged under Official Secrets Act

Authorities in India should immediately drop all charges against Poonam Agrawal, a journalist for the English-language news website The Quint, the Committee to Protect journalists said today. Police in Nashik, roughly 170 kilometres (105 miles) northeast of Mumbai, on March 28 opened a criminal case against Agrawal on charges of spying and criminal trespass under the Official Secrets Act, a 1923 anti-espionage law. They also charged her with criminal defamation and abetment of a suicide under the Penal Code, according to the journalist and media reports. If convicted of all charges, she faces…Read more

NTV reporter kidnapped, beaten over post about Ugandan First Lady

Reporters Without Borders (RSF) is appalled to learn that TV reporter Gertrude Uwitware was kidnapped andbeaten during the weekend over her coverage of a dispute between well-known university academic Stella Nyanzi and Janet Museveni, who is Uganda's minister of education and President Yoweri Museveni's wife. Gertrude Uwitware, who covers health issues for Nation Television (NTV), Uganda's leading privately-owned TV channel, was walking along one of Kampala's safest and most touristic avenues on the afternoon of 8 April, when a man and a woman forced her to get into their car at gunpoint. After…Read more

Ugandan ruling party youth convicted of assaulting journalists

This statement was originally published on hrnjuganda.org on 29 March 2017. Five youth supporters of the ruling National Resistance Movement (NRM) party have been found guilty of assaulting three Entebbe-based journalists, thereby occasioning them actual bodily harm and maliciously damaging their property contrary to sections 335 and 236 of the Penal Code Act, respectively. “The accused persons had the intention of stopping journalists from covering the events (elections). The complainants were just doing their work as journalists and them being stopped [and] beaten was willful and unlawful. Therefore the accused persons are convicted…Read more

Nigerian blogger, publisher jailed on defamation charges

Committee to Protect Journalists Nigerian authorities should immediately and unconditionally release blogger Kemi Omololu-Olunloyo and newspaper publisher Samuel Welson, the Committee to Protect Journalists said today. The two have been held in a maximum security prison for more than a week as they await trial on charges of defamation and publishing false news. Police on March 13 arrested Omololu-Olunloyo, who runs the blog HNN Africa, at her house in the southwestern city of Ibadan, for publishing on Instagram a letterpurportedly from a churchgoer accusing a woman of using juju to convince a pastor and other men to…Read more

Reporter beaten by police while investigating police violence in Kenya

Reporters Without Borders (RSF) condemns the beating that Standard Media Group reporter Isaiah Gwengi received from a special border police unit in the western town of Usenge yesterday and calls for an investigation into this unacceptable act of police brutality. After arresting Gwengi, members of the Quick Response Team (QRT) stripped him naked and gave him a severe beating, inflicting injuries to his head and parts of his body, and confiscated his phone and SIM cards. Gwengi was arrested together with human rights activist Rodgers Ochieng while interviewing Usenge residents who have been…Read more

After two-year trial, Ugandan journalists acquitted of criminal defamation

Human Rights Network for Journalists - Uganda The Chief Magistrates Court at Buganda Road has acquitted four journalists of criminal defamation and convicted the source of defamatory information. Madina Nalwanga and Patrick Tumwesigye of New Vision, and Benon Tugumiisirize and Ronald Nahabwe – formerly of Red Pepper – were found not “criminally liable” for what was published and had no intention to defame the complainants. However, the court found the provider of the information, Ssegawa Tamale, guilty. He will be sentenced on 17 March 2017 at 2:00 P.M “I am convinced by the evidence of A2…Read more

Commonwealth Day Message by Her Majesty The Queen, Head of the Commonwealth

"This Commonwealth Day, a baton will set out from Buckingham Palace and begin a long and extraordinary journey. Over the next twelve months, the Baton will visit people living in the nations and territories of our Commonwealth family in every continent and ocean. Carried on its way by thousands of people of all ages and backgrounds, by the time it reaches its final destination, The Queen’s Baton will have brought together through its route and symbolism, almost 2.5 billion people who share the special connection of being Commonwealth citizens. Contained within the Baton…Read more

Peace-building is the theme for Commonwealth Day 2017

On Monday 13 March, schools and communities in 52 countries will mark Commonwealth Day 2017. This year, the annual celebration of the Commonwealth’s shared values is themed ‘A Peace-building Commonwealth’. Highlights include: The Commonwealth Service at Westminster Abbey at 1445GMT The Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games Queen’s Baton Relay launch at Buckingham Palace at 1130GMT A new Commonwealth Peace in the Home initiative to tackle domestic violence The Head of the Commonwealth, Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, will lead festivities with a special message issued to the two and a half billion people…Read more

Awaiting justice for Ugandan journalist Andrew Lwanga

This statement was originally published by Human Rights Network for Journalists - Uganda on 9 March 2017. It was 12 January 2015 when WBS Television journalist Andrew Lwanga – who was covering a peaceful procession by a group of unemployed youth along Namirembe Road in Kampala – met his unfortunate fate. Lwanga was brutally assaulted by a senior police officer – the then District Police Commander (DPC) of Old Kampala, Joram Mwesigye. Lwanga was rushed to hospital in a critical and life-threatening condition. On 13 of January 2015 a group of journalists – led…Read more

Fiji urged to abandon outdated sedition laws

Judicial partners should encourage the Fiji prosecution office to pull back from sedition charges against the country's leading newspaper, says PFF, the Pacific Freedom Forum. "Fiji's judiciary is again out of step with the rest of the region", says PFF Chair Monica Miller, speaking from American Samoa. "Colleagues from around the region need to extend what they've learn from many millions in aid spent on improving judicial services." Incitement Director of Public Prosecutions, Christopher Pryde, was this week given 21 days leave by the Fiji High Court to consider whether or not existing charges of…Read more